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Samantha's Story

I am a 2004 “graduate” of both of PATH’s healing venues: The Bible Study and the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. The healing, love and compassion I received cannot be measured by any words I could ever say. For me, the most important part of my healing was the recognition of my children in Heaven! What a wonderful discovery, what a new concept… these ARE my children. They WERE in my womb and to accept them as the true God given gifts they are in my life is one of the happiest, yet sad days of my life.

I made the choice of abortion 3 times. I was led to that decision by: One, incredibly wrongful thinking, influenced by my surroundings and those close to me at the time, two, being a severe distance from God, and three, an almost non existent love of myself. This terrible choice I made three times was destroying my soul and my body. And here’s why.

I had held on to my sin and refused Jesus’ forgiveness. I stayed away from my Church fearing that there would be rejection. Happily, Jesus never stopped calling me and eventually I made it to his house almost every weekend. Yet, I continued to feel unworthy of his love. I   had condemned myself! Though I received the sacrament of penance a few times, I FEARED confessing my abortions. I was petrified that the little place I had built for myself in the back of my Church would be taken away. I had put God in a box. I had put myself on death row. “That’s it. You did the crime and you are going to hell”.

In May of 2004, I noticed an ad on my Church bulletin for the PATH retreat. Though at first I did not consider going, it did prompt me to confess. It took about 4 weeks but one afternoon in late June of that year, I made it to the confessional. I was shaking and my hands were cold and trembling. I wanted to run! I was so afraid… Fr. Fabio Alvarez was my confessor. He could tell by my physical behavior I was very disturbed. He gently led me to confess. He took my hands in his hands and ever so gently told me; “Jesus loves you”. For penance he asked me to beg God for the opportunity to help another woman not chose abortion and to carry the message of forgiveness. He laid hands on me and absolved me of my sins.

My thoughts as I left the Church were: “That’s it! I’m not being kicked out! WOW! Am I worth that much to you Lord? THANK YOU, THANK YOU! And please bless Fr. Fabio for representing you in such a loving way”.

At my retreat, Fr. Joseph reminded me ever so gently and lovingly that St. Peter denied our Lord Jesus 3 times and yet in him he founded the Church. His words said softly and at the same time firmly, have resonated in my ears so many times when the evil one has tried to rob me of my healing. God bless Fr. Joseph! The sound of those words and the warm embrace of welcome from Sr. Pat have in combination been the voice and love of Jesus in my life many times since. I love you Sr. Pat!

During the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, there is an exercise that invites us to meditate and beg for insight as to the gender of our children and then name them. It was at this time, that Sr. Pat suggested that we recognize any miscarried children and to name them if we were so moved. I remember sitting still for a moment, almost in shock thinking: “My miscarriages were children! I had never thought of them that way!” I had 3 miscarriages between the birth of my son and my daughter. I suffered greatly for those losses and now I understood why! I had not lost “tissues!” I had lost my children. Finally, here was a small way that I could find some closure to my grief – a grief I may not even have recognized -- and acknowledge my pain.

Having shared all of this, I now want to move on to the real reason I am standing before you tonight:

“Let me tell you about my children in Heaven”

I am the proud mother of six handsome boys in heaven or as my spiritual director likes to refer to them: “my six pack in heaven”. I am happy to tell you about them and how they are part of my life every day. They are Thomas, Hans, Anthony, Georg, Karl and Stephen.

It is through Ignatian spirituality that I have learned from St. Ignatius’ principle and foundation that ALL in our life is gift and it is intended to lead us to the purpose for which we were created; to love and serve God. I am ever thankful to my loving God for leading me to PATH. I am ever grateful that my prayer was answered to fulfill my penance. I feel certain that thru my work at PATH I’ve helped in some small way to contribute to a woman’s choice NOT to choose abortion and for the privilege to speak to you and share with my message of forgiveness!

I think of my children often during the day. The huge difference is that prior to PATH I was tormented by the thoughts and now I rejoice and I thank them for saving my life!

Every morning during my prayer time, I beg our Blessed Mother to kiss them for me. I beg Jesus to guard the day when I will see my children in heaven and kiss them and hug them. I then turn and ask them to intercede for me and for their brother and sister still living on earth. At times, when I close my eyes to meditate, I can hear their voices saying: “We love you Mom. Have a good day. We’ll be praying for you”.

Indeed! The biggest gift PATH has given me is the acknowledgement of my children in heaven! It has been a privilege to share them with you.